UPDATE: Oct. 16 ― Police clarified at a press conference on Monday that the remains appeared to be 10 fetuses and one full-term baby, the Detroit Free Press reported. Officers also said they would be opening a criminal investigation into the situation.
Law enforcement has recovered the remains of an 11 infants hidden in a false ceiling inside a Detroit funeral home that was shuttered earlier this year.
The bodies were located inside a “hidden false ceiling between the first and second floor of the funeral home,” Detroit Police Lt. Detective Brian Bowser said during a Friday press conference, part of which was posted on Twitter by Detroit News reporter Sarah Rahal. Bowser added that police do not know why the bodies were stowed in the ceiling.
Bowser told reporters that inspectors from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs had received an anonymous letter on Friday detailing how to find bodies inside the now-closed Cantrell Funeral Home. When inspectors found the bodies, Bowser said in the video above, they called police.
Naveed Syed, who currently owns the property where the funeral home is located, told local news station, told WXYZ that he helped lead state inspectors to the bodies. He said inspectors told him at least one of the bodies appeared to have been in the ceiling since 2009.
Jameca LaJoyce Boone, who had managed the funeral home the year before it closed, told The Detroit News she was shocked there were bodies hidden in the ceiling.
“I didn’t know anything about that,” she said. “I really don’t know how that could even have happened. I don’t know how long that’s been going on there… it’s very unfortunate and they definitely need to find out who put them there.”
The county medical examiner’s office has identified some of the bodies and is notifying the families of the infants. No additional bodies have been found inside the building.
State officials had shut the funeral home down in April over numerous issues including improperly stored bodies covered in mold, unsanitary conditions and financial violations.